As the Boston Celtics head into the offseason, NESN.com takes a closer look at each player on the roster in an effort to determine who will stick around for next season and who will be playing elsewhere.
Next up: Brandon Bass.
You’d be hard pressed find a more consummate professional this season than Bass, one of just three players to appear in all 82 games for the Celtics.
The 29-year-old big man has been the picture of durability since joining the Celtics in 2011, playing in 305 of a possible 309 games. Last October, however, he was forced to adjust to a new role.
Bass entered this season as Brad Stevens’ third option at center, only cracking the starting lineup after both Kelly Olynyk and Tyler Zeller struggled. After starting 142 games over the previous two seasons, Bass spent the first 39 games of 2014-15 on the bench.
Yet you never heard a hint of complaint, nor saw a drop in his effort or production on the court.
“It seems to me that he’s having as efficient a year as he’s had,” Stevens said back in January, when Bass had yet to make his first start of the season. “He’s playing great.”
Bass finally returned to the starting five Jan. 22 and never left, starting the Celtics’ final 43 games and scoring in double figures in 29 of them. Although other factors were at play — the midseason acquisition of point guard Isaiah Thomas chief among them — Boston went 27-16 in games Bass started.
And then there were the trade rumors. For the second consecutive season, the Celtics reportedly aggressively shopped Bass at the deadline, only to find that no team was willing to meet Danny Ainge’s asking price. Bass still has plenty to offer a team, though, and this summer might be when he finally takes his talents elsewhere.
Bass is set to become an unrestricted free agent in July, and while Ainge has said the Celtics are open to re-signing him, that might not be in the team’s best interest. Bass made $6.9 million this season. His next contract surely will be a less lucrative one, but he’s still likely to command more than what the C’s are paying their other, younger big men: Tyler Zeller, Jared Sullinger and Kelly Olynyk.
Plus, with a Kevin Love-type reportedly high on Boston’s wish list, some space would have to be made in the Celtics’ already congested frontcourt rotation.
So, what do you think? Will Bass be around to begin his fourth season in Boston?
Up next: Avery Bradley
Previously: Chris Babb
Thumbnail photo via Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports Images